Back before I had more children than hands, I occupied some of my time editing curricula on the topic of shmirat halashon (refraining from gossip) for Orthodox elementary schools. It was a fairly tedious and thankless job, but every once in a while, I would come across an error that was so wonderful in its horribleness, that the ensuing laughter gave me the wherewithal to forge through the tedium. My very favorite was a sentence meant to express how precious the mitzvah is of guarding one’s tongue, but the writer seemed to have confused the words “priceless” and “invaluable,” resulting in a sentence that appeared as follows: “Adhering to the laws of shmirat halashon is a valueless mitzvah.”
Now I’m a stay-at-home mom, and most of my time is taken up by searching for lost shoes, cleaning pee off my floors and/or furniture, and stringing together words I never imagined would occur in the same sentence (“Please don’t put the cow in the toilet.”). At the end of a long day, I like to log in to Facebook, read the news, check my email, and catch up on some of the threads on the various forums I frequent. And this is what I love about the internet. Other than endless amounts of entertainment and information at my fingertips, it’s a place where people are forced to express themselves in “rough draft” writing, making for many unintentionally hilarious errors.
Improper diction is one mistake I run across often. Like one woman who wrote about how her parents “engraved” certain values in her from a young age. I was very tempted to ask her where her tattoos are. Or the poster who described two terrified children running through a room as “two petrified toddlers flying across the room,” which while technically correct, conjured images of cherub statues sailing through the air and smashing on impact.
But my very favorite type of mistake is the mixed metaphor. Without further ado, my top 4 (OK, they’re the only ones I can remember off the top of my head, without digging through my old Facebook statuses. Yes, I post them on Facebook.) favorite mixed metaphors:
- Life is not a bowl of roses. Life is not a centerpiece at a bar mitzvah. Truer words have not been spoken.
- We women get the raw end of the stick. Is it me, or does this one sound a little racy?
- You are tarring all those people with the same feather. You are unfairly stereotyping people, but at least you’re taking an excruciatingly long time to do it.
- I will not hide my head in the sand like an octypus [sic]. I’m not sure if this poster is in more desperate need of a spelling lesson or a zoology lesson.
So thank you, denizens of online discussion forums. You add unexpected hilarity to my otherwise mundane existence. I tip my hand to you.